The EU plans to launch its EU Digital Covid Certificate (the “Certificate”) across all Member States by 1 July, although some countries, such as Ireland, may implement it at a later date.
As discussed in our previous blog, the Certificate will facilitate travel within the EU by confirming someone has been fully vaccinated with an EU approved vaccine, has had a negative test or has had the virus and recovered. The information will be in the form of a QR code and may be stored on someone’s phone or printed on paper.
Some EU countries are adopting the Certificate or relaxing their restrictions early in order to welcome back tourists as soon as possible. Greece has already successfully tested the Certificate system and has launched it. Spain will be allowing entry of fully vaccinated visitors from any country (including the US and UK) as of 7 June. Although Spain does not have a date for launching full use of the Certificate, it is anticipated this will happen shortly to further boost the tourist industry. Estonia anticipates having the Certificate system up and running within the first half of June.
In the meantime, travelers should be aware that, even after they have implemented the Certificate, individual EU Member States may still use a “brake” mechanism to impose restrictions if they are concerned about a particular country’s epidemiological status or if there is a variant of concern or interest. All travelers should check their destination and / or transit country’s travel advice and any restrictions prior to travelling.
The resumption of tourism will be a welcome financial boost to the economies of many EU Member States. With the summer tourist season about to kick off, we will hopefully see more EU countries adopting the Certificate to facilitate increased international tourist and business travel.